From Dream Home to Reality

Renaissance Homes helps a couple create the rural escape they’ve been longing for.

Brooke Sullivan and Matt Williams were well on their way to designing and building their dream home on their 8 scenic acres in rural Beaverton when they had a revelation. Despite the fact they were heading into the engineering phase of the home, they weren’t happy with how it was going.

Friends and family had warned the couple that building a custom home was likely going to be a painful experience. And at least at first, they were right. Sullivan and Williams picked a builder they thought was a good fit, but the ensuing year proved to be one of frustration: sparse communication, plenty of invoices and an overall feeling that the relationship was not the right one.

So, a year — and a good chunk of change — into the process, they pulled the plug.

“We were less than thrilled, and so we decided to almost start over,” Sullivan says.

The husband and wife met eight years ago while working at a hospital in Texas; she’s a registered nurse, he’s an emergency medicine physician. They decided they wanted to find a different builder — somebody with a respected reputation and a history of attractive, quality homes; somebody who would engage in conversation, solve problems creatively and make them feel like they were part of the team.

During their search, they visited a Renaissance Homes open house in Lake Oswego. Founded by Randy Sebastian in 1984, Renaissance Homes has become one of the region’s most well-known builders of luxury homes over the past four decades. Renaissance Homes is now also focusing on custom homes and is sought after for its streamlined building process and promise to deliver the best-built homes for its clients. Sullivan, a West Linn native, knew of Renaissance Homes simply from growing up here, but she was also familiar with the builder’s participation in the NW Natural Street of Dreams.

Michael Lutz, a broker for Renaissance Homes, was working the open house when Sullivan and Williams visited. He connected with the couple, who shared with Lutz some of the vision for the home they had in mind for themselves.

“He was so kind and so welcoming, and just let us know they were here for us,” Sullivan says. “When we left, we were like, ‘This is what we are supposed to do.’”

Sullivan and Williams worked closely with the team at Renaissance Homes to make their home a reality. Renaissance Homes offers clients the choice to select one of its award-winning plans from its extensive collection, or clients can work with Renaissance Homes’ architectural design team to create a custom home plan. Many clients opt to select a plan from the Renaissance collection and make personal modifications to it, which is exactly what Sullivan and Williams did.

“That was something we didn’t know you could do,” Sullivan says, “but it was a game-changer.”

That meant flipping the layout, adding a dog shower in the garage (the couple has five dogs) a door in the bedroom that opens to the outside and a pocket door for the en suite bathroom in the guest room. They also worked in an extra closet in one of the bedrooms and a fireplace in the primary suite.

The team at Renaissance Homes was able to help Sullivan and Williams bring their ideas for what they wanted into reality.

“The communication was fantastic,” Williams says. “They were so good at understanding what we were saying even though we may not have been good at saying it. They interpreted and translated what we wanted and just did a great job of helping us find what we wanted.”

What the couple also appreciated about Renaissance Homes was the company’s efforts to keep the project within — and even a little under — budget. They were grateful for Renaissance Homes’ transparency when it came to cost and how nothing tripped up the team: not an extended permitting process, not the well or septic system, and not the fact that the property is all-electric with no natural gas or propane.

“They knew how to do all that,” Williams says. “Nothing was an issue for them.”

The end product is a handsome, 3,300-square-foot, single-level, modern farmhouse home. It’s got a circular driveway and what Sullivan calls “the biggest garage in the world,” as well as a 600-square-foot patio and tons of windows that let in natural light and frame the treed and territorial views out across their acreage.

Sullivan and Williams say the home is just what they had in mind for capturing the slower-paced, rural living they were in search of after living in bustling cities and working in health care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their property, which they bought in 2021, boasts woods, an orchard and a pond; it’s not unusual to see bald eagles soaring past out the windows.

“I had lived in Boston, New Orleans, Austin, and I got kind of tired of living downtown,” Williams says. “Part of the drive [to move out to the country] is having kind of a built-in hobby, an escape, to get away from all of that. We totally lucked into that with this property.”

Even though Sullivan and Williams moved into their new home in November, they say Renaissance has never been far away. Any last-minute needs they had, they could call and someone from Renaissance Homes would be right out. And the day they officially moved in, their team from Renaissance welcomed them home.

“The day we moved in, everyone who had been on our team came out,” Sullivan says. “It was so sweet and kind.”